Pan de agua (Breakfast bread rolls)

Pan de agua (Breakfast bread rolls)

Why do I even have this recipe in our  blog? I am not sure. After all, Dominicans don’t make pan de agua (greakfast bread rolls) at home. We buy it in colmados (corner stores) and supermarkets. I guess it has something to do with all the requests I got for it over the years.

It must be a matter of nostalgia for a lot of our readers.

Pan de agua (Breakfast bread rolls)

In all my years I have yet to see two “panes de agua” that looked, or tasted the same. Yet, for reasons beyond my comprehension, Dominicans can tell when they try one. It’s like we all have different voices, different dictions, but somehow manage to sound “Dominican”.

What’s with that?

Pan de agua (Breakfast bread rolls)

When I was a child a messenger on a heavily-loaded tricycle delivered “pan de agua” to our door every evening. There were two bakeries in my hometown and only one delivered, both breads had different texture and flavor.

Most panes de agua sold in “colmados” have a similar shape, a long roll with an indentation along its length. But this is not the only pan de agua you can find, step into a city supermarket and the bread you’ll given will be more similar to a mini-baguette.

Pan de agua (Breakfast bread rolls)

In any case, while I can produce a pretty decent pan de agua at home, it is because I have a machine for kneading and leavening, special oven gadgets, and special molds. For the sake of everyone’s pocket I have found a compromise. You’ll get the characteristic hard crust and soft center, but the shape will be different.

Aunt Clara
Pan de agua (Breakfast bread rolls)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A traditional component of the humblest Dominican breakfast, "pan de agua" are soft-centered bread rolls with a crispy golden crust.
Serves: 6 rolls
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of pre-sifted bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of instant, dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of lukewarm water
  • ⅓ cup of fine cornmeal
  • Extra flour for working
Instructions
  1. Whisk bread flour, yeast and salt together. Place in the mixer bowl and attach the dough hook.
  2. Start mixer at low speed (speed 2 of 12 in mine).
  3. Add the water and run mixer for 10 minutes. The resulting dough will be shaggy and quite wet.
  4. Pour the dough on a clean surface covered with flour.
  5. Divide the dough into 6. Make into balls. Sprinkle extra flour if necessary to work with it, but don't overdo it or the bread will be dry and hard.
  6. Place on a baking tray (see suggestions in notes) sprinkled with cornmeal. Let it rise covered in a dark, warm place until the balls double in size (1½ hrs, aprox.)
  7. Heat oven to 500 ºF (260 ºC). If your oven doesn't reach that temperature, go as high as it goes (results may vary).
  8. Place an empty tray on the topmost rack in the oven, one on the bottom. Fill both with boiling water. The oven should be very steamy when you put the bread in the oven.
  9. Place the tray with the bread in the center of the oven, between the trays with boiling water. Close the oven fast so the steam doesn't escape.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the trays with the water (be very careful), and bake the bread some more until they have a golden brown crust (7 - 10 mins aprox).
  11. Remove from the oven, serve hot.
Notes
Results will vary depending on the oven you have. There's no two ways about that.

You could try to knead this by hand, but I can't see how, the dough is very shaggy and sticky.

If you want to make the traditional elongated roll you will need a special tray. This one (the one I have) fits 6 rolls.

Rolls tend to get a bit flatter on a regular tray, to get taller round rolls I use this tray.

You need bread flour. Yes, you do.

If you are not sure that your yeast is alive, make a test by mixing a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of yeast and dissolving in a ¼ cup of lukewarm water. Cover and let it rest in a warm, dark place. In 10 minutes the top should be foamy, if not you need fresh yeast. Notice these ingredients are not listed as part of the recipe.
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{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Nani September 18, 2013, 4:54 PM

    Tia Clara,

    I love galletas dominicanas with coffee. They taste like the Pan de agua, but with a thick crunchy texture. Could you try making them and post the recipes for us? I live in DC and have not seen them anywhere.

    thanks,

    Nani

  • Michelle August 20, 2013, 4:57 PM

    I made this today and everything was going well. I took it out of the oven and it looked good. When I went to taste it, it was hard and the inside was soft. What could have gone wrong. The bread grew and everything went as described but I don’t know what happened.

  • CHARLEY STURGES February 24, 2013, 8:31 PM

    BREAKFAST BREAD ROLLS ARE DELICIOUS ANY MEAL DURING THE DAY AND WILL LAST TWO OR THREE DAYS
    THANKS FOR THE RECIPE

  • yullz October 25, 2012, 7:17 PM

    hola , trate de hacer esta receta ..pero no se que paso que el pan quedo duro al principio creia k era falta de amasar o que no lo habia dejado reposar para k creciera ..nunca crecio y quedo duro nada que ver con el tradiciona pan de agua …y eh tratado varias recetas aparte de estas y nada Incluso algunas dicen que ni levadura es necesaria que todo esta en amasar y amasar pero en mi caso nada.

    nota: cuando usted dice la levadura esta muerta como uno se da cuenta por que tambien dicen k solo es una pizca de levadura … Gracias

    • Aunt Clara February 5, 2013, 7:39 AM

      If the bread didn’t rise is almost certain the yeast was dead. Pls. see recipe for instructions on how to test your yeast.

  • la morena August 30, 2012, 8:48 AM

    oye pero si esta en ingles la receta no la encuentro en espan

    • Aunt Clara September 1, 2012, 10:56 AM

      Ver el botón rojo grande al tope a la derecha que dice “Español”.

  • jacqueline reyes July 22, 2012, 12:07 AM

    Gracias por esta receta ya trate el pan y me quedo perfecto.

  • lolita July 7, 2012, 2:11 PM

    lala love it

  • Claudia X November 6, 2011, 3:16 PM

    Is water bread eaten only right after it's cooked or could it last all day?

    I guess I'm trying to ask when is it best eaten?

    • Amron November 13, 2011, 4:23 PM

      You can freeze this bread and warm in the oven or microwave. Use a small cup of water in microwave to help retain moisture and only heat 30 seconds at a time or it will get too tough and chewy.

  • Sofia Vargas October 23, 2011, 1:29 PM

    Gracias por esas recetas tan deliciosas, necesitamos la de pan de manteca.

  • Micaela June 4, 2011, 6:54 PM

    sí, pan de manteca y pan sobao, por favor!!! También quería comentar que en PR, el pan de agua se vende como el pan francés o el italiano (en vez de bolillos individuales). Gracias! Esta receta la voy a tener que probar.

  • esther rodriguez April 13, 2011, 11:44 AM

    me gustaria que pusierasla receta de com hacer pan de manteca ;)

  • calypso January 19, 2011, 5:51 PM

    I made this one today. It was great! I just add 1/2 tsp of sugar with water and yeast. That's how we do it in my country. It helps the yeast and the dough rise.

    I like your "same texture as children modeling clay" tip. Great comparison!